Scientific notes

Roles Of Actin In The Morphogenesis Of The Early Caenorhabditis Elegans Embryo

Ever looked for info about the roles of actin in asymmetric cell division? Everything is reviewed here for C. elegans embryo

Actin is one of the most abundant proteins in the cell. Arp2/3 complex is known as one of the most important regulators in the nucleation of actin filaments. Caenorhabditis elegans is used as a model organism to investigate the regulation and dynamics of actin networks in developmental processes. Interest of these studies are based on: the first asymmetric division of the C. elegans single-cell embryo to understand symmetry breaking, polarity establishment, microtubule assembly, spindle positioning, and the cell shape changes that accompany asymmetric cell division. After fertilization symmetry is broken leading to polarization resulting in different actomyosin activity and PAR occupancy. This review of Dureen Samandar Eweis and Julie Plastino shows the multitude of roles played by the actin cytoskeleton in the C. elegans embryo referring to its role in meiosis, interlink with Aurora-A and PAR protein, with plastin & cadherin and the formation/position of the contractile ring leading to cytokinesis.

Figure 2 from the review: Roles of Actin in the Morphogenesis of the Early Caenorhabditis elegans Embryo (Dureen Samandar Eweis & Julie Plastino, 2020)

Ultra fast temperature shift device for in vitro experiments under microscopy​


The cell shape changes that ensure asymmetric cell divisions are crucial for correct development, as asymmetric divisions allow for the formation of different cell types and therefore different tissues. The first division of the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo has emerged as a powerful model for understanding asymmetric cell division. The dynamics of microtubules, polarity proteins, and the actin cytoskeleton are all key for this process. In this review, we highlight studies from the last five years revealing new insights about the role of actin dynamics in the first asymmetric cell division of the early C. elegans embryo. Recent results concerning the roles of actin and actin binding proteins in symmetry breaking, cortical flows, cortical integrity, and cleavage furrow formation are described.


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